Night Raid 4, Daimaou 5, Working!! 5

Senkou no Night Raid 4 doesn’t push any overriding story arc, unless you count the brief appearance of the long-haired guy for the second straight episode. Rather it’s a character study of sorts between Aoi and Kazura.

It’s also meant to be a comic episode. It doesn’t work terribly well. Basically Fuu gets the boys to photograph her restaurant’s food in order to draw customers. While doing so Aoi and Kazura talk, mainly argue, about the proper way of doing things (There is one interesting moment when Aoi says he doesn’t think Japan ought to be the ones to decide what happens in China, which Kazura thinks is ludicrous). When the bag with the film vanishes, their approaches for finding it are supposed to demonstrate their disparate techniques. Yet they keep winding up in the same place.

Aoi and Kazura track down the perp, by looking to the right.

Even when they discover the culprit, their routes toward finding kitty differ, though frankly I can’t see much of a diffrence. Aoi uses the direct approach, Kazura goes more roundabout, and again they wind up in the same place, which is, of course, the point. As a postscript we get a scene where Yukina says more or less what the episode had already shown us. Well, good to have it official, I guess. As for Aoi and Kazura, we know about as much about them at the end as we did before. They have different techniques and bicker a lot. No, not much to this episode at all.

On the other hand, Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou 5 has way too much going on. I sat there as they threw plot bomb after plot bomb at me until I gave up trying to figure it out.

Don't ask what Fujiko, Keena and Junko are doing there. I barely know myself.

I partly gave up because none of it was making sense. Everyone has their own reason for collecting the three treasures (which are surprisingly modern, considering), or for stopping others from getting them. I don’t know what the hell Eiko was on about here. Junko says she’s a government agent, or something, but apparently all she really wants to do is get Akuto alone for some shenanigans. When Akuto “chooses,” i.e., rescues Junko, she runs off in a naked huff. Oh, yeah, there’s a naked girl swordfight in a hot spring, just for cheap thrills. Fujiko is looking for information about her disgraced dead brother. But what makes the least sense is that the whole thing was set up by the student council. Except that they do it in ruined underground cities where relics of the demon lord are kept. What a great place for a scavenger hunt involving a future demon lord!

Actually, Akuto looks pretty comfortable up there.

But we also get surprises! Fujiko learns the truth about her brother (We already knew, but she didn’t)! The dragon they wake up accepts Akuto as his master and has a sense of humor! Apparently Akuto also seems a little more content with this demon lord stuff. Really, this was one of the most confusing story arcs I have ever seen. Or maybe I was distracted by the naked swordfight in the hot spring.

Not too much to say about Working!! 5. The first half consisted of dithering scenes that didn’t do much except play the characters against each other. Souta decides that the girls’ weirdness level increases with their height. There’s a bit where Hiroomi tries to communicate with Inami via cellphone, because he’ll get hit if he gets too close …

Then there's the weird relationship between Satou and Yachiyo.

It’s fine with me, really. This is a slice of life show made of little vignettes; the quality is determined by how well they work. Though I have one qualm I’ll bring up later.

The second part has a consistent story. Souta can’t come in because of his sick sister, so they’re understaffed. And the restaurant fills up with men, meaning Inami can’t help out much. They all switch places. The cooks do the waiting, Inami becomes the cook (Never mind that it means there’s one cook in a packed restaurant. There are things in any show that must be ignored in order to enjoy it). It works well enough, but I think the show is getting a little heavy on Inami’s side. All the other characters interact with each other for the laughs, but Inami’s tendency toward violence sort of trumps all that. It’s become the dynamic of too many of the little stories. As much as I enjoy Inami, they might want to ease up on her a little. And they will, for next week is all about Souta’s very interesting sisters.

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